Children dance and play during the celebration of the second anniversary of the Little Community School located in the Mazatec community of Agua de Lluvia. Photo: Aldo Santiago
The Agua de Lluvia Little Community School is a project born of the necessity of the children and parents of the community of Agua de Lluvia, nestled in the Mazatec mountains in northern Oaxaca.
Although the project has been ten years in the making, inspired by the autonomous education of the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, it wasn’t until 2021 when the project was made public.
The activities organized by the collaborators are diverse. Far from being centered solely on pedagogy, the activities span from the sciences and arts to the defense of territory and working with the land.
“We always motivate the children to continue studying. Not so as to get a job and be part of the masses, dedicating themselves to only think in economic terms. Rather, it is to sow the seed of social and political consciousness, a consciousness of their surroundings,” shared Jazmin Alvarado, collaborator of the autonomous education project.
In the last two years, individuals and collectives have participated with the collaborators of the Little Community School to give workshops on media tools, local histories, farming, music, art, bookbinding, silk-screen printing, and food preparation. These are some of the knowledges shared in this region where, as Alvarado argues, it is difficult for the children to have access to these tools and knowledges from within the formal educational institutions.
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“The children have been acquiring these teachings and it has opened them up to a world of possibilities,” celebrates the collaborator of the Little Community School during a day of conversations, workshops, music, and dance, to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the autonomous education project.
“Exposing children to different knowledges allows them to see other possibilities in their lives,” Alvarado emphasizes, given the context of increasing violence and criminal activity in the Mazatec mountains in Oaxaca. “This space is a refuge, including for the collaborators, and we want it to be so for everyone: the children, adolescents, and adults as well.”
The collaborator sustains that the celebration is of great importance because it reinforces the commitment to the project. “Our idea is to foment community ties…its not just about going and partying, but about strengthening the social fabric and consolidating those social and political ties,” emphasizes Alvarado.
“Celebrate the children. Let the children feel celebrated because they are the ones who have also given life to this space, let them feel that it is a celebration for them, for everyone,” concludes the collaborator of the school.